Indianapolis Colts Report Card

The offense struggled, but the defense shined in the Indianapolis Colts 10-6 win over Cleveland on Sunday. We give each unit a letter grade inside -- see who got high marks and who needs a little remedial work in our weekly report card!


The Colts had a tough time putting together much of a pass offense Sunday. QB Peyton Manning hit on 15 of 21 passes for just 125 yards. He was not sacked, but he was intercepted twice (one coming on an end-of-the-first-half Hail Mary attempt). Indianapolis averaged 8.3 per pass reception and did not have a pass play that gained more than 20 yards.


Not great, but not terrible either. Indianapolis had 90 yards on the ground on 29 rushing attempts, led by Joseph Addai's 57 yards on 15 carries. RB Dominic Rhodes added 35 yards in 11 carries. The Colts averaged 3.1 yards per attempt and had only one run of 10 or more yards (14 by Addai). Indianapolis failed to convert on a fourth-and-goal at the Browns 1-yard line (Manning fumbled near the goal line), and Addai was stopped on a key third-and-1 attempt in the fourth quarter.


Indianapolis limited Browns QB Derek Anderson to 16-of-26 passing for 110 yards and no touchdown passes. Anderson was sacked three times, twice by DE Robert Mathis, and had a fumble forced by DE Dwight Freeney. Mathis picked up the fumble and ran 37 yards for the game's lone touchdown. The Colts also picked off a pass by backup QB Ken Dorsey late in the fourth quarter on the Browns' final possession.


The Colts allowed Cleveland RB Jamal Lewis 77 yards on 24 carries and the Browns 101 yards on 32 total carries for an average of 3.2 per rushing attempt. Indianapolis allowed just one run of 10 yards or better (Lewis went for 15 yards). Five Browns running backs had rushing attempts, along with Anderson.


For the second week in a row, the Colts special teams units played very well. Indianapolis' kickoff and punt coverage units did a great job of containing Josh Cribbs, Cleveland's special teams ace. Cribbs had a fair catch on his only punt return opportunity and averaged just 20.3 yards on three kickoff returns, helping Indianapolis win the field position battle. Hunter Smith averaged 38 yards on two punts. PK Adam Vinatieri was 1-for-2 on field-goal attempts, hitting from 30 yards and missing wide left on a 46-yard try. To be fair, though, Vinatieri's plant foot slipped in the mud on the longer attempt. Rookie RB Chad Simpson averaged 31 yards on two kickoff returns.


When Colts coaches, players and fans looked at their November schedule and saw games with New England, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Cleveland — the last three on the road — nobody thought that the team would emerge undefeated. But that's exactly what happened. And, as a result, Indianapolis is rolling along with an 8-4 record and is in the driver's seat for the first wild-card spot in the AFC playoffs. Tony Dungy's "one game at a time" mantra could be called "coach-speak," but it worked. The players have responded after a sluggish 3-4 start to the season.

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